Consolation

Come here, 

cry in my lap.

Happens to all of us,

we snap.


World makes no sense,

everyone’s pretending.

everyone’s wearing a mask,

what are they defending?


No one is a god,

there is no rule book.

we are all winging it,

gaining self worth on fluke.


Be bold

say, I don’t know

I’m not perfect, never will be

But I’ll be better tomorrow.


Build your mental fortitude,

it’s in your control.

Each day, by one inch

keep moving towards your goal.

The bear and the bunny

Two little darlings,
very very small.
Have come to us,

after hearing our call.

 

One is a bear,
with a smile heart-warming.
The other is a bunny,

Mr prince charming.

 

Papa bear and mamma rabbit,
are over the moon.
Haven’t slept for 2 weeks,

their hearts still swoon.

 

The bear and the bunny,
are dearly loved.
Soon they’ll see brother monkey.

in a distant world.

 

There’s no gift more precious,
than the gift of life.
And we are double lucky,
so, let’s enjoy the drive!
-Nakul
(On the arrival of my nephews)

 

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

This will be my second time, celebrating New Year as per the Lunar calendar, here in Singapore.

Along with the festivities, there is a beautiful tradition when families and dear ones get together over dinner, to welcome the new year.

So, on this joyous occasion that celebrates togetherness, I want to share with you an endearing and highly critically acclaimed short-story about family, tradition, resentment and most importantly – love.

Paper Menagerie: https://io9.gizmodo.com/read-ken-lius-amazing-story-that-swept-the-hugo-nebula-5958919

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

(Translation: May you attain great wealth)

Book Review: Crime and Punishment

Pain and suffering are inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great man, I think, have great sadness on the earth

Written and revered for more than 150 years, Crime and Punishment is regarded as one of the first and finest works of psychological thriller. 

Dostoevsky paints such a fine portrait of 1880s Petersburg, a society deeply fractured – economically and morally, which pushes the protagonist, Rodion Roskolniko, to the extremes of his ethical values. 

The plot is really simple. The ‘crime’ takes place within the first part but the ‘punishment’ unfolds over the next 6 parts of the novel. 

The characters are incredibly intricate and what is deeply admirable is the level Dostoevsky explores reason and motivation behind every thought, behaviour, and action. There is no right or wrong and you tend to appreciate the behaviour because

Dostoevsky removes all layers and lay them bare in front of you. 

Undoubtedly one of the finest works in literature, moral philosophy, and human psychology. 

My Values

3 years ago on my birthday (11 Sep 2016) I penned down my values for the first time. This was after an exercise that I did through which I tried to articulate a set of intrinsic motivations through which I would have been able to guide my behaviour and actions.

At that point in my life I was reading a lot about Benjamin Franklin and I’d heavily borrowed from the values that he set out for himself when he was just 17 years of age.

Over the years I’ve tweaked the description of some my values from the philosophies of Seneca, Nietzche, as well as Jordon Peterson, Slavoj Zizek and Malcom Gladwell amongst others.

I make a mental note of these early in morning and revise it in evening, doing a check of whether my behaviour and motivations were aligned to these.

This is how the latest version looks like:

Joker Vs Mr Rogers

Capture

“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” – Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion (1938)

Last week, I chanced upon two wonderful movies. The first one was Won’t you be my neighbour (2018), a documentary on the life and work of Mr Frank Rogers and Joker (2019).
The protagonists in both the movies couldn’t be more different or similar.
Mr Rogers was an extraordinarily kind man, who made a resolve to communicate with and nurture the emotional resilience of kids. He was of strong Christian faith and also fortunate to have a close group of friends who stood by him through the tough phases of his life.
It is a kind of movie that inspires you to become more giving, more thoughtful with your words and actions, and to appreciate what you have.
Later in the evening I watched Joker and was completely blown away by its sheer intensity.
The director has tastefully portrayed what becomes of a sweet person (Arthur) when he is left with in a vacuum of abandoned relationships, severe mental illness and deep despair. Arthur was quite unfortunate as compared to Mr Rogers – he suffered from mental illness, was unappreciated at work, had no support from friends and had to nurse his ill mother in a dilapidated home.
Through the movie, he keeps getting battered by a series of cruel and unjust incidents. This continues till he shuns all responsibilities, turns nihilistic and burns down everything, including his identity.
Jung spoke of the persona and the shadow.
Essentially, persona is how we’d like to be perceived by others and shadow are the repressed tendencies that dwell within. And Jung mentioned that every person has a shadow (and the more we suppress the dark feelings, the stronger they get) and the goal of a healthy personality should be when an individual acknowledges the shadow and heightens the sense of being. Jung called this individuation and is wonderfully explained in this speech by Alan Watts.
With Arthur, the shadow completely overwhelms the persona. He loses his identity. I could understand that.
And the documentary mentioned that Mr Rogers also had some suppressed feelings – some unpleasant memories from his childhood, on which he based the personalities of one of his hand puppets. And by enacting a conversation with Daniel, Mr Rogers had repeated cathartic dialogues with his unconscious, which I believe, made him stronger in his resolve – which was to help children to navigate through their emotional journeys
I’ve been pondering for a week now that Arthur could have been a much more centered personality.
And maybe. just maybe, if the world had been utmost cruel to Mr Rogers, millions and millions of children and adults wouldn’t have had a beacon of positive emotion in their lives.

Clever yet sensible advertisement

img-20190217-wa0015

 

 

This ad appeared today in LKO edition of a national daily and I found the creative quite remarkable! It communicates an extremely relevant, and metaphorical message, in a very sensible manner.
I quite admired the copy as well:
“याद रखें – अथक परिश्रम, सुप्रक्षिशण एवं नियमित पढाई ही है सफलता का मूल”
Translation:
 _Bear in mind: grit, preparation, and inquiry build the foundation for success_
(I paraphrased a bit, translation is hard task!)

ROAS (framework) for Pampers’​ 2019​ Superbowl ad

Superbowl!

 

The mere mention of this term conjures up different associations.

For me, it is the advertisements.

 

Ever since my graduation days, I’ve been fascinated with Superbowl advertisements – the grand production, clever messaging, and the subtle way through which brands reinforce their positioning year after year: human art in its finest form!

In fact most of the American viewers want to watch Superbowl ads during the game.

About 55% said that they’d be disappointed if the game was aired commercial free.

But all those impressions and TV ratings come at a cost, a whooping cost! An average 30 second ad spot during 2019 Superbowl ad broadcast cost an estimated US $5.25 Mn.

 

Fig1: Super Bowl average costs of a 30-second TV advertisement from 2002 to 2019 in US$

Superbowl ad cost

https://www.statista.com/statistics/217134/total-advertisement-revenue-of-super-bowls/

 

And one question that has been discussed and debated within academia and agencies alike is – how do you calculate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of a Superbowl ad?

 

It’s an interesting question to explore, especially for FMCG/CPG brands which are quite heavily penetrated and there’s no dearth of data sources.

There have been some good studies/research on this subject. Hartmann and Klapper, from Stanford, published in their 2015 paper that soda or beer brands that advertised on Superbowl saw significantly increased sales (in-store sales/household) but this gain becomes insignificant if two major brands advertise.

They also conclusively concluded that Superbowl ads build an association between the brand and viewership of sports more broadly.

 

Now, a colleague of mine showed me this advertisement from Pampers which is quite endearing but is of course doesn’t speak of any association with sports

And another point to note is that because baby diapers is such a cluttered category, Pampers would’ve planned an elaborate campaign to account for the “forgetting curve”, which states that humans tend to forget a message almost completely in 7 days unless reinforced.

Fig2: The Forgetting curve and combating it

Forgetting Curve

 https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/what-is-the-forgetting-curve/

 

So for Pampers, the total cost of this Superbowl campaign, which is cost of production, endorsers, broadcast for online/offline is estimated anywhere from US $50 Mn – $80 Mn!

And it got me thinking: how should Pampers evaluate the ROAS for this advertisement?

(limiting the scope to digital sector, in my simple brain).

 

If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt is that before you set out to answer something, you should clearly articulate what you are striving to achieve.

So, if I were in digital/eCom team of Pampers, I’d think of this digital campaign by checking, holistically, the corresponding changes in brand penetration, consumption frequency and basket spends.

 

Following are some of the KPIs that I would’ve first documented before the start of the campaign and then measured post campaign (week, 3 weeks, 3 months).

(I’ve focused, intentionally, on enabler KPIs and not output KPIs like GMV/sales/throughput)

  1. Shift in purchase intent, quantified to number of (potential) shoppers
  2. Page Views/glance views garnered for Pampers (key SKUs) on eCommerce
  3. Organic search ranking of these SKUs against the popular category search queries
  4. New customers acquired on eCommerce, new signups on Pampers Club, new customer IDs acquired (anonymized/identifiable)
  5. Subscriptions on eCommerce
  6. % of monthly recurring/loyal shoppers (change in lapsers) on eCommerce and Pampers Club
  7. Average Basket spends: basket value and number of items/order on eCommerce

The way I see it, Pampers should look at combination of all of these KPIs, assigning a $ value to each, and calculating the returns against total campaign cost.

 

Avinash Kaushik write an interesting piece on this which I highly recommend if you want to explore further.

Please let me know your thoughts, I’d be keen to make this sharper.

 

And I’d leave you with my favourite half-time Superbowl performance, the 2007 half-time show where Prince played Purple Rain in torrential downpour and got immortalized as the greatest performer.

I’ll just leave it there.